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What makes Hanley Ramirez get out of bed and want to hit? I’m not sure, but I really like what I see when he does. A motivated Hanley is a great asset.

Trying to predict Hanley Ramirez and what type of season he might have is much like watching meteorologists trying to predict the weather during the winter in New England. He’s just plain unpredictable. Hanley has always been described as a very talented hitter, but if you look at his hitting stats over the years, they’re all over the place. His inconsistency begs a question. What motivates Hanley?

It’s tough to say that anything really motivates Hanley.

It’s not money, because in his contract year before signing with the Red Sox, he hit .283 with 13 home runs, 71 runs driven in and an OPS of .817. Those are good numbers, but not elite numbers, and certainly not anywhere close to what one would expect when playing for a contract, especially given Hanley’s talent. The contract the Red Sox gave him was a definite overpay based on those stats alone.

It’s certainly not pride as we saw in 2015 with that disastrous experiment in left field. He didn’t put the work in necessary to be any good out there.

Could it be his teammates? In 2016, we saw Hanley have a great year with David Ortiz still in the mix. Even that wore off and we got what we saw in 2017. There were flashes of him trying to help his teammates, like a 19 inning game that ended with him walking off with a home run. He also had a pretty good performance in the post season as well.

Even with that, it’s still quite difficult to tell what motivates Hanley.

There is something that I can tell you about Hanley, and that is he likes to hit baseballs. He is actually pretty talented at hitting that ball too. When a guy has a .291 batting average in 1608 games, he’s got talent.

The interesting thing about Hanley is that depending on which direction his bat goes in every night, so go the Red Sox. This past season, when Hanley got 1 or more hits, the Red Sox went 49-32. In the games where he didn’t get anything? 27-24. It’s still a decent record, but that is a testament to the deeper-than-we-give-them-credit-for lineup that the Red Sox have. Hanley needs to hit.

When he does hit, the Red Sox are 17 games above .500.

A lot of people tend to forget that Hanley was playing with a shoulder that needed surgery. If HanRam can hit 23 home runs with a shoulders that made it difficult to field first base, what can he do if those shoulders are better?

Depends on what motivates Hanley.

Hanley can hit when he wants to hit. He wanted to help David Ortiz get back to the post season in 2016, so he stayed in line and he hit. I think in 2017, his hitting was subpar due to the shoulder, but there may have been other factors too. Hanley’s career BABIP (Batting average on balls in play) is .322. His BABIP in 2017 was .272, 50 points lower. For a comparison, his BABIP in 2016 (which everyone loved his performance) .315. I think it is safe to say that there was a bit of bad luck at play for Hanley, and we should see a rebound in his batting average this year.

Again, that depends on how motivated Hanley is.

If Alex Cora and his teammates can get Hanley involved and focused, he can be the force that the Red Sox need him to be. For all the talk of a big bat, Hanley is the big bat if he is right and if he is motivated. Can the Red Sox figure out how to get another big performance from Hanley? If they can, his presence alters the shape of this line up dramatically.

It all depends on how motivated Hanley Ramirez is when he shows up to the ball park to work.